Doctor Who Logo 'Silence In The Library'
(Story Code 4.9)

by Steven Moffat
The Doctor and Donna

“Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark. But they’re wrong. Cos it’s not irrational. It’s Vashta Nerada” – The Doctor

“What’s Vashta Nerada?” – Donna

“It’s what’s in the dark. It’s what’s always in the dark.” – The Doctor

In an apparently ordinary family home on Earth, a little girl explains to her father and her psychiatrist, Doctor Moon, how she can transport herself in her mind’s eye to a huge library on an alien world, just by closing her eyes. When the girl sends herself to the library a second time, she is surprised as a nearby door bursts open and two people rush in – the Doctor and Donna have arrived…

Earlier: the Doctor takes Donna to the Fifty-First Century, where the TARDIS materialises in The Library, a world devoted entirely to literature, which contains copies of every book ever written. Despite the fact that they are in the biggest library in the universe the two time travellers are puzzled by the fact that they appear to be alone; checking the Library’s computer systems the Doctor finds that they are the only two humanoid life forms on the entire planet – but when he widens the search to include non-humanoid life forms, the computer counts as many as a million million before overloading… Returning to the room where the TARDIS landed, the Doctor and Donna encounter a Courtesy Node, a computerised statue with a human face; the Node replays the last two messages in its databanks, from the Head Librarian, which talk of death and warn about shadows. As the Doctor and Donna make their way through the countless rows of bookcases, the Doctor reveals he brought them to The Library in response to a message that mysteriously appeared on his psychic paper; Donna begins teasing the Doctor about the kiss that ended the note, but she stops when she sees that the lights around them have started to go out. Knowing that trouble is on the way, the Doctor begins using his sonic screwdriver to un-jam the nearest door; however, Donna has a quicker method, and promptly kicks the doors open. As Donna and the Doctor rush inside what appears to be a shop they come face to face with a security camera, a hovering ball that somehow shares its point of view with the little girl – who immediately collapses to the floor of her dad’s living room. While the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver on the camera, the girl hears its buzzing in her head – and when the Time Lord gets the device working, he is unaware that the words appearing on its dot-matrix display are those of the child, as she tells her dad and Doctor Moon that the Library has been breached… Back in the Library, Donna meets another Courtesy Node and is shocked to learn that its human face was obtained from fleshbanks – a repository of bodyparts donated by the deceased. While Donna struggles to come to terms with this gruesome concept, the Doctor notices a shadow on the floor – a shadow that has nothing casting it; when the shadow disappears the Doctor’s suspicions begin to grow – it hasn’t vanished, merely moved… At that moment there is a flash of light, heralding the arrival of an expeditionary team of space-suited archaeologists in The Library. The Doctor tries to warn these new visitors of their impending danger, but they refuse to – indeed, one of the team, Professor River Song, seems extremely pleased to see the Doctor, and addresses him as “Pretty Boy”. The Doctor and Donna are introduced to the rest of the team: its financier, Mr Strackman Lux, whose family built The Library; his assistant, the pretty but vacuous Miss Evangelista; the pilot, Proper Dave; and archaeologists Anita and Other Dave. Lux explains that he has come to the Library to discover what happened to its visitors and staff a hundred years ago; he insists that the Doctor and Donna complete non-disclosure forms, but the time travellers immediately tear up the documents. When the Doctor explains that the threat in The Library is Vashta Narada, creatures that live in the dark, his warnings finally sink in, and the archaeologists start to listen. Instructing her team to begin their investigations, Professor River Song takes the Doctor to one side and explains that it was she who called on him for help; River strokes the Doctor’s face tenderly, only to become disappointed when she realises that he doesn’t recognise her. Referring to a battered diary patterned suspiciously like the TARDIS’ police box exterior, River theorises that the Doctor she knows is from far in his personal future. Just then everyone hears a telephone ringing; looking around they are unable to find its source – unaware that the phone is actually in the little girl’s house. Confused that her dad and Doctor Moon cannot hear the ringing, the girl goes to answer the phone, but it stops before she can reach it; just then the image on her television changes to show the Doctor, River, Lux and the others. The Doctor is surprised, as he was attempting to access the data core of The Library’s security system. The girl asks what he is doing in her library, but before the Doctor can answer, the transmission breaks down. The little girl tries using her television’s remote control to restore the channel, but with no success; however, when she uses the buttons at the bottom of the remote, she causes books to fly off The Library’s shelves, which narrowly miss the Doctor, Donna and the archaeologists. The Doctor tries to question Mr Lux about The Library’s data core, and of the word ‘CAL’ which he saw on the computer screen, but the businessman still doggedly refuses to talk until the Time Lord has signed a non-disclosure contract; knowing this will never happen, River shows the Doctor a mysterious message that was received a century ago, a transmission from The Library stating “4022 saved. No survivors” – the exact amount of people who disappeared from The Library at the time. The Doctor asks Lux the meaning of the message, but the businessman cannot tell him, explaining that it took his family three generations just to decode The Library’s security seal. Still trying her remote control, the little girl presses another button, causing a hidden panel to slide open in the wall near Miss Evangelista; when her calls are ignored, the personal assistant decides to investigate on her own, and, after wandering inside the dark passage, she soon finds herself inside a reading room full of dusty books – and something else... Back in the shop, the Doctor and the others hear Miss Evangelista’s sudden scream and immediately rush to investigate; inside they are horrified to find that all that remains of the P.A. is her skeleton, wrapped in the shredded remnants of her suit. When Miss Evangelista’s voice suddenly transits over the intercoms built into the archaeologists’ suits, River realises what has happened: Miss Evangelista has become a ‘Data Ghost’, the brainwaves of her dying mind ‘ghosting’ through the neural relay in her spacesuit’s communications system, echoing her final thoughts as she fades into oblivion. After the pattern has decayed and Miss Evangelista has finally died, the Doctor grimly decides to show everyone what Vashta Nerada really is... Elsewhere, the little girl talks to Doctor Moon, and is surprised when he tells her that the real world is a lie, that the Library is real – and that only she can save the people trapped inside from the moving shadows. While the Doctor grabs a lunchbox and a torch, Donna questions River on who she really is; River reveals that she once travelled with the Doctor, but at a time in his personal future – her message to him arrived too early. Hearing the Doctor call out to his companion, River realises that she is talking to Donna Noble; River appears badly shaken, but before she can elaborate why she is interrupted by the Doctor, who is busy demonstrating the effects of Vashta Nerada by throwing a chicken drumstick into the shadows and watching its flesh disappear in an instant. The Time Lord explains that Vashta Nerada are voracious creatures, piranhas of the air, which exist in swarms inside shadows on every planet in the universe; these creatures can literally melt flesh, and the only way to survive an encounter with them is to run away. After Donna points out to the Doctor that they are in the Library’s shop, the Time Lord deduces that there must be a teleport system nearby; however, before he can go and look, he notices that Proper Dave has two shadows – the Vashta Nerada have latched onto the pilot as a food source. Instructing the archaeologists to don their helmets, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to boost their suits’ protection, and is surprised when River joins in with her own, similar device. Using the teleport, the Doctor sends Donna to the safety of the TARDIS; however, as Donna materialises inside the space-time ship’s control room, she screams in agony and then fades away… Returning to The Library’s shop, the Doctor finds that Proper Dave now only has one shadow; the Time Lord is perplexed… until Proper Dave’s terrified voice rings out over the comm. system, moaning that he cannot see. As Proper Dave turns around, the Doctor, River and the others are shocked to see that his helmet is now filled with blackness; then his comm system starts ghosting – and three extra shadows emerge from his suit and begin flowing across the floor... To the Doctor’s amazement, River zaps a wall with a weapon that looks amazingly like Captain Jack’s ‘squareness gun’, creating a hole for them both, Lux, Anita and Other Dave to escape through; they are closely followed by Proper Dave – now nothing more than a skeleton animated by the Vashta Nerada swarm. Meanwhile, back in her house, the girl tells her father “Donna Noble has been saved”. Running for their lives down the aisles between darkened bookshelves, the Doctor and his party soon stop to catch their breath. When the Doctor begins using his sonic screwdriver to boost the lighting system, River uses her sonic screwdriver to help; she then tells the Time Lord that the device she holds is in fact his, given to her by his future self. Just then the Doctor realises his sonic screwdriver has yet to inform him of Donna’s arrival in the TARDIS; concerned that something has gone wrong, the Doctor asks another Node of his companion’s whereabouts in The Library – and is shocked to see that this Node wears Donna’s face. As the Donna-Node informs everyone again and again that Donna has left the Library and has been saved, the Vashta Narada-animated skeleton of Proper Dave rounds the corner and continues to shambles menacingly onwards; the Doctor, River and the others turn to run, only find that the shadows in the other direction them are advancing – they are hemmed in…

David Tennant (The Doctor), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Alex Kingston (Professor River Song), Colin Salmon (Doctor Moon), Eve Newton (The Girl), Mark Dexter (Dad), Sarah Miles (Node), Joshua Dallas (Node), Steve Pemberton (Strackman Lux), Talulah Riley (Miss Evangelista), Jessika Williams (Anita), Harry Peacock (Proper Dave), O-T Fagbenie (Other Dave)

Directed by Euros Lyn
Produced by Phil Collinson
Executive Producers Russell T. Davies, Phil Collinson and Julie Gardner
A BBC Wales production

31st May 2008 @ 7.00 pm

*Featuring the Tenth Doctor and Donna, and introducing River Song

*Part one of a two part story

*This episode was originally scheduled for 24th May, but was held back a week due to transmission of 'The Eurovision Song Contest'